The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

November 21, 2013

No new recruits for UPJ women

JOHNSTOWN — Mike Drahos was hired as the Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball coach late in July, with little to no time left in the recruiting season.

The former West Liberty University assistant coach heeded the advice of other coaches. Drahos ignored the temptation to hastily sign a few recruits simply to put his own stamp on this season’s Lady Cats.

As UPJ prepares for its first PSAC home game on Saturday against Edinboro (1 p.m.), Drahos is pleased by the talent on a roster assembled by former coach Sasha Palmer, who officially left in June to accept a Syracuse assistant coaching position.

“I’m playing the hand that was dealt,” said Drahos, whose team is 1-2 after falling 96-72 at IUP on Wednesday. “None of these girls are my recruits. I was hired late, and didn’t want to take anybody just to take them.

“I got some advice from coaching mentors who said, ‘If you’re not sure, don’t take somebody.’ I said I’m going to play the hand that’s dealt this year and bring in my first recruiting class when I have a full year to recruit.”

Drahos isn’t complaining.

He has talented scorers, an inside presence and a lot of hustle in those “cards” he collected.

Sophomore guard Kayla DeCriscio averages 21 points a game and has made 18 of 33 3-point field goal attempts (.545 percent).

Junior guard Kelsey Sleighter has a 14.7 points a game average while handing out five assists a night through three games.

Sophomore Jasmine Harper, a 6-foot forward, scores 13.3 points and grabs 10 rebounds a game. The Cleveland Heights, Ohio, player was named WVIAC Freshman of the Year in 2012-13, the final season for the conference.

“We’re scoring more points than I thought we might, which is definitely a good thing,” Drahos said. “With us losing Kaitlynn Fratz from last year, and Nicole Carman being the only double-digit scorer coming back, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to put enough points on the scoreboard to be a legitimate contender.

“That’s been one good surprise for us that we’ve had some kids step up like Kayla DeCriscio. Kelsey Sleighter scored 22 points one night. We’re not anywhere near where I want to be but we’re getting there.”

Fratz, a two-time First Team All-WVIAC selection and UPJ’s leading scorer the past two seasons, transferred to California (Pa.) late during the past academic calendar year. She’s part of a Vulcans team that will face UPJ in the PSAC.

Altoona’s DeCriscio said Drahos has brought an uptempo philosophy with him.

“It’s faster paced, which is good for us because we like to run the floor. We’re a quick team,” DeCriscio said. “We’re young. We’re learning this new offense. Being ranked eighth in the PSAC (preseason poll) gives us that motivation.

“You’re faced with challenges, having a new coach, and that’s great,” she added. “We’re changing things up from what we did last year. We’re going to do what coach says. I think it will work for us.”

Seniors Rachel Johnson, Grace Hyland and Inaya Stephenson join junior forward Nicole Carman as other experienced players back from a 14-12 team that went 12-10 in the WVIAC last season.

Sophomores Leah Hansen, Olivia Rizzo and Dominique Smith also will be counted on. Redshirt freshman Jamie Tabon and true freshmen Cydney Green and Kierra Mitchell are newcomers.

“First of all we have a great group of kids. Above all they’re high character kids,” Drahos said. “As a new head coach, I was worried. To be honest I didn’t know what type of kids I’d be dealing with here. They’re all very coachable, hard-working kids. We are more talented than I thought we would be after losing Fratz. I’m pretty happy and have an optimistic outlook on what we can do as a basketball team.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide